StateTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Government en EMS Agencies Turn to Tablets to Meet Challenges in the Field <span>EMS Agencies Turn to Tablets to Meet Challenges in the Field</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/20/2019 - 10:01</span> <div><p>Houston first responders field about <strong>800,000</strong> calls to their 911 center annually and cover an area of more than 600 square miles, making it critically important for the city to use vehicles and personnel as efficiently as possible. But, like most fire and emergency medical service agencies, <a href="" target="_blank">the Houston Fire Department</a> is bogged down with nonemergency calls.</p> <p>The city tried a few different approaches to solve the problem, but those efforts still resulted in ambulance transport for most nonemergency calls. Then, in 2014, the city rolled out the <a href="" target="_blank">Emergency TeleHealth and Navigation</a> (ETHAN) Project, a first-of-its-kind collaboration among Houston and several tech companies. The result is an on-the-spot triage system powered by mobile devices and 4G connectivity.</p> <p>The use of tablets in EMS was relatively new when Houston deployed the <a href=";searchscope=all&amp;sr=1" target="_blank">Panasonic FZ-G1 Toughpad</a> to support ETHAN, but departments today<strong> increasingly rely on the devices to support an array of applications ranging from telemedicine and patient charting to drone piloting</strong>.</p> <p>“The value of a tablet for patient reports is that you can <strong>take it out of the vehicle and fill in that information as you’re talking to the patient</strong>,” says Matt Hinds-Aldrich, program manager for data and analytics at the <a href="" target="_blank">National Fire Protection Association</a>. “And although laptops and tablets both have their merits, some departments prefer tablets because <strong>they can often buy three devices with protective cases for the price of one ruggedized laptop</strong>.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="ModernWorkforce_IR_700x220_theoffice_0.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Houston Saves Time and Money with Tablets and Telehealth </h2> <p>Today, Houston EMS professionals use the ETHAN system <strong>thousands of times per year, saving the city millions of dollars in the process</strong>.</p> <p>“Really, there are multiple benefits,” says Dr. Michael Gonzalez, ETHAN Project program director and associate medical director for the Houston Fire Department. “We avoid ambulance transports when they’re not medically necessary, and that saves either the patients or their payer significant money. From a larger perspective, we’re <strong>trying to save the overall healthcare system money</strong>. And we really wanted to make our operations more efficient, so we can respond to emergencies faster and better.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/calvin-hennick" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/calvin-hennick"> <div>Calvin Hennick</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=calvinhennick&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Calvin Hennick is a freelance journalist who specializes in business and technology writing. He is a contributor to the CDW family of technology magazines.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 20 Sep 2019 14:01:40 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42856 at Data Security Emerges as Top Government Application for Blockchain <span>Data Security Emerges as Top Government Application for Blockchain</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/19/2019 - 09:18</span> <div><p>For state governments, the most revolutionary application of <a href="">blockchain</a> may lie in <strong>how the technology protects and handles data</strong>. With a growing need for secure data management and increased demand for transparency, the public sector presents a natural test bed for blockchain solutions.</p> <p>According to Tom Coleman and Ted Kowalsky of the <a href="" target="_blank">American Blockchain &amp; Cryptocurrency Association</a>, there are several obvious use cases in the public sector. “There are myriad applications: transferable licenses, land rights, tracking complex grant programs and food safety,” Coleman says.</p> <p>Part of the difficulty for state agencies will be identifying areas that could benefit most from blockchain while having the lowest barriers to entry. “Some low-hanging fruit will be around <strong>cybersecurity, information integrity and auditability, and transparency</strong>,” Kowalsky says. </p> <p>Blockchain’s distributed nature presents a more complex attack surface for bad actors, disseminating risk and limiting the likelihood of a single hack taking down an entire set of records. It also makes auditing records much more transparent, with every node of the system maintaining a copy of the ledger.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>Find out how North Carolina wants to use blockchain tech. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">State Governments Experiment with Blockchain Use Cases </h2> <p>Kowalsky believes that this will be of huge importance for government agencies that collect data as public confidence in data security wanes. “If the 2000s were about data collection, and the 2010s were about making sense of Big Data, I feel the 2020s will be the decade of data repatriation and democratization,” he says.</p> <p>State governments have begun to recognize blockchain’s potential. Colorado, <a href="">Ohio</a>, <a href="">Utah</a> and others have established various blockchain initiatives to assess use of the technology for<strong> identity management, public records, vehicle registration and more</strong>. Colorado’s Office of Information Technology has even appointed Thaddeus Batt to the newly created position of blockchain architect. His role is to “consider research, development, and implementation of distributed ledger technologies,” OIT says.</p> <p>While Batt is an advocate of blockchain applications, he recognizes the importance of a measured approach when dealing with public data and serv-ices<strong>. “All use cases must first be proved through the lens of security and scalability,”</strong> he says.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" tabindex="-1" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Colorado Explores Blockchain for Financial Transactions, Data Security</h2> <p>Don’t assume, however, that Colorado doesn’t have some immediate targets in sight. “OIT’s initial areas of interest are<strong> records management, data storage and security, identity management and anything dealing with financial transactions</strong>,” Batt says.</p> <p>An important consideration for states exploring blockchain will be how well their infrastructure can handle transaction volume. “Scaling chainstacks in our cloud infrastructure to accommodate applications with very high transaction rates is certainly on our radar,” Batt says. “There are a number of ways to deploy consensus nodes — directly on virtual machines, containerized or within Blockchain as a Service — and it is important for us to determine the total cost of ownership for each solution.”</p> <p>By appointing Batt to the role, Colorado has made clear its commitment to utilizing blockchain. “We intend to incorporate an evaluation of blockchain applicability for all state software applications going forward,” Batt says.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/taxonomy/term/11766" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Tristan Willis " typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/taxonomy/term/11766"> <div>Tristan Willis </div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=Tristanthropy&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Tristan Willis is a freelance writer with a passion for words. He specializes in content writing, copywriting, proofreading, and editing.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 19 Sep 2019 13:18:15 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42851 at Street Smarts: Montgomery, Ala. Embraces the Internet of Things <span>Street Smarts: Montgomery, Ala. Embraces the Internet of Things</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/mickey-mccarter" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Mickey McCarter</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/18/2019 - 10:44</span> <div><p><em>Editor's Note: This is the first article in "Street Smarts," which will be an ongoing </em>StateTech <em>series that highlights local stories of smart city projects, from development to execution. </em></p> <p>Technology may not have factored in much to the outside world’s perception of Montgomery, Ala., six or seven years ago; the town might have then been viewed as a “<strong>sleepy capital city known for historical events</strong>,” Mayor Todd Strange says.</p> <p>Today, however, following the introduction of a number of Internet of Things-enabled systems, Montgomery is steadily transforming into a <strong>smart technology hub</strong>.</p> <p>Instead of waiting in the rain for a bus, residents can track its location with an app and confirm exactly when it will arrive. Visitors can <strong>access free Wi-Fi</strong> within the <a href="" target="_blank">nine-block downtown corridor</a> that’s home to the Capitol Building; the church where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once served as pastor; and some of the city’s other famous sites. </p> <p>Drivers can pull up to one of the <strong>1,700 recently installed street meters</strong> in the area, <a href="" target="_blank">dubbed the Smart City Living Lab</a> — a project of the Montgomery Smart Community Alliance, a partnership that includes the city, Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce and Alabama Power — and quickly pay for parking with their smartphone.</p> <p>Turning one of America’s most historic streets into the Living Lab will help Montgomery test <strong>smart technology applications</strong>, according to Alabama Power’s Leslie Sanders, vice president of the southern division.</p> <p>“A true smart city is <strong>an integrated platform</strong> where you put components together so you can <a href="" target="_blank">run your city in the smartest manner possible</a> — you’ve integrated a sensor-based gunshot detection system with streetlights that can send data about traffic flow,” Sanders says. “We believe if we can build a template, we can grow it.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" tabindex="-1" target="_blank"><img alt="Digital%20Transformation_IR_1.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <h2>Solid Support Is Needed for Smart Technology</h2> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">Montgomery Smart Community Alliance</a> helped review the area’s infrastructure needs, according to Lora McClendon, vice president of strategic initiatives and federal affairs at the Chamber of Commerce — as well as <strong>some initial smart technology options</strong>.</p> <p>“There are a lot of different vendors out there providing some sort of solution, from a public safety standpoint to water quality,” McClendon says. “The city had <strong>a lot of opportunities for pilot programs</strong> that were testing out solutions or trying to get into the space.”</p> <p>During a pilot of a smart city platform in 2018, <strong><a href="" target="_blank">Apple</a><strong> </strong>iPhones logged locations</strong> as having been serviced when sanitation vehicles passed each scheduled, geocoded address — instead of drivers later filing notes that they’d taken on a clipboard as they drove their route. By clicking a button on the iPhone, drivers could also indicate an issue had prevented service, such as a missing bin, and document it with a photo.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/erin-brereton"> <div>Erin Brereton</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=Erbrer09&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Erin Brereton has written about technology, business and other topics for more than 50 magazines, newspapers and online publications. </p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 18 Sep 2019 14:44:36 +0000 Mickey McCarter 42821 at Should Agencies Stick with Mainframes or Ditch Them? <span>Should Agencies Stick with Mainframes or Ditch Them?</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/17/2019 - 07:52</span> <div><p>At a time when <a href="">augmented reality glasses can help firefighters</a> see through smoke and 5G wireless networks <a href="">deliver blazing-fast speeds</a>, it can be easy to forget the humble mainframe. But should state and local governments do just that, and<strong> leave the mainframe behind?</strong> </p> <p>Mainframes are reliable, secure and fast, <a href="" target="_blank">notes a 2018 survey</a> from the National Association of State Technology Directors. “They are … <strong>efficient and powerful data processors, capable of processing millions of instructions per second</strong> (MIPS) for high volume transactions,” the survey notes. “Typical state agencies currently using mainframes to run applications include departments of motor vehicles, social services, finance, accounting, Medicaid eligibility and tax departments.” </p> <p>However, as the survey notes, CIOs and their staffers are <strong>struggling with whether to keep using mainframes as the workers who can run and manage them begin to retire in waves</strong>, and as cheaper and more flexible alternatives open up in the cloud or collocated data centers. </p> <p>According to the survey, <strong>53 percent</strong> of state IT enterprises reported managing their mainframes in-house, and <strong>18 percent </strong>fully outsource the service. The rest reported they used a managed service, either on-premises or off-premises, or have a hybrid solution. However, when asked about future plans,<strong> 61 percent </strong>of IT leaders said they are looking to fully outsource mainframe support or take a hybrid approach, and only <strong>18 percent</strong> said they plan to continue managing their mainframes in-house.</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_1%20(2)_0.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Why Your Agency Should Stick with Mainframes</h2> <p>Despite those figures, Wisconsin CIO David Cagigal said at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers’ midyear conference in May that his state is firmly behind mainframe technology and is trying to get a new generation of workers on board to manage them. </p> <p>“You are very careful to make sure it works flawless every second of the day, and I mean<strong> every second of the day</strong>,” Cagigal said of his state’s mainframes, <a href="" target="_blank">according to StateScoop</a>. </p> <p>Cagigal praised mainframes’ security and reliability as key reasons to stick with the technology. It’s certainly difficult to replicate those features, or the familiarity that comes with using long-running mainframes, overnight. </p> <p>Further, Cagigal noted, it would <strong>take about a decade to switch to a similarly stable distributed architecture</strong>. That’s why many states have chosen to outsource mainframe support, he said, according to StateScoop.</p> <p>Wisconsin, however, has decided to train interns on the technology in the hopes that they can serve as <strong>a new generation of workers capable of handling mainframes</strong>. “I wish I could tell you why these kids are interested in the mainframe, other than that it pays a lot of money,” he said. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>What are the best practices for using container technology in government?</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Why Your Agency Should Move Off of Mainframes</h2> <p>At the other end of the spectrum, there is the city of Los Angeles, which is abandoning its old mainframes for an upgraded IT infrastructure. </p> <p>In March, <a href="" target="_blank">the city announced</a> a three-year, <strong>$10.5 million</strong> contract with the California Department of Technology, with an option to add three additional years, if needed. L.A. will transition data from its mainframe technology, including key public safety workloads, to the CDT’s state data center in Sacramento, Calif. </p> <p>L.A. wanted to <strong>cut costs by avoiding the replacement of aging IT equipment</strong>. According to the CDT, this will save the city hundreds of thousands of dollars. The city also notes that it was difficult to recruit younger hires to replace retiring employees to manage its mainframes. </p> <p>CDT will offer experienced, <strong>24/7 staffing, hardware support, security and disaster recovery services</strong>.</p> <p>“CDT has sufficient staff and technology resources (hardware/software) to accommodate the city of L.A.’s workload,” CDT spokesman Bob Andosca <a href="" target="_blank">told Techwire</a>. The state technology agency already provides data center services to counties and municipalities in the Golden State. </p> <p>So, since L.A. is getting access to newer hardware, it does not have to go through the process of finding and <strong>hiring staff who can manage mainframes, and gets managed services as part of the deal</strong>. That all saves costs. </p> <p>There are some clear reasons to stay on mainframes, but there are equally compelling ones to move off of them, if your agency can find the right partner in a collocated data center or in the cloud.</p> <p><em>This article is part of </em>StateTech<em>'s <a href="">CITizen blog series</a>. Please join the discussion on Twitter by using the <a href="">#StateLocalIT</a> hashtag.</em></p> <p><em><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="CITizen_blog_cropped_0.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></em></p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/matt-parnofiello" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Matt Parnofiello" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/matt-parnofiello"> <div>Matt Parnofiello</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>In his role as Senior Business Development Strategist and Senior Public Safety Strategist at CDW•G, Matt Parnofiello manages technology integration projects with public safety agencies from concept to implementation. Working with the CDW•G team, customers, and industry partners he provides agencies with new capabilities and improved safety through digital transformation.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 17 Sep 2019 11:52:39 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42846 at State and Local Government Make Safer Roads with IoT <span>State and Local Government Make Safer Roads with IoT</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/16/2019 - 11:06</span> <div><p>In 2010, the northern region of the <a href="" target="_blank">Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities</a> (ADOT&amp;PF) was hit with a new problem: ice.</p> <p>That might sound like something Alaskans should be used to, but in the northern region of state, the ADOT&amp;PF was used to dealing with fluffy snow that could be easily plowed, not a winterlong, two-inch ice layer that came from sudden warming periods followed by cold weather and ice storms. </p> <p>“We were not equipped as a department or organization to deal with things like that,” says Dan Schacher, Fairbanks district superintendent at ADOT&amp;PF. Street icing “seemed to be happening more frequently, so <strong>we saw the need to be proactive in the response to these events rather than sitting there and watching it happen</strong>.” </p> <p>Instead of taking the costly measure of preemptively salting and sanding roads before every potential ice-producing incident, the ADOT&amp;PF did what a lot of state and local governments around the country are doing: They <strong>turned to Internet of Things technology</strong>. </p> <p>The ADOT&amp;FP deployed its IoT solution — a combination of telemetry stations and sensors put on their own vehicles, with <a href="" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> <a href="" target="_blank">Azure IoT</a> used to analyze and clean the data supplied by these outlets — in the 2015-2016 winter season. The agency saw benefits almost immediately. It <strong>provided the same services with 25 percent less budget </strong>and helped reduce weather-related car accidents.</p> <p>“The accident reduction was more than I had hoped for,” said Schacher, which he said is the biggest benefit of the program because of the focus on increasing safety and mobility for northern Alaska residents. That’s not the only benefit, though: <strong>“We’re not just improving safety. We’re reducing our operations costs as well,”</strong> he adds. </p> <p><em><a href="" target="_blank"><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>Find out how<strong> </strong>Georgia plans to test connected vehicle tech on stretch of highway.</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Cities and States Use Tech to Improve Streets</h2> <p>The U.S. Department of Transportation <a href="" target="_blank">estimates</a> that over the next 30 years, America’s population will grow by <strong>70 million </strong>people, and freight moving across roads, rails, pipelines and airports will increase by <strong>45 percent</strong>. </p> <p>“As a nation, we will not be able to build our way out of the growing congestion and all its effects,” Carlos Monje Jr., then acting undersecretary of transportation for policy and assistant secretary for transportation policy at the USDOT, <a href="" target="_blank">told the</a> U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation’s subcommittee on surface transportation and merchant marine infrastructure, safety and security in 2016. “Instead, we have to be smarter about the capacity we have. Emerging technology has the potential to dramatically improve our lives.” </p> <p>He spoke about the potential for IoT to bring transportation and infrastructure into the 21st century, and state and local government departments of transportation have taken that message to heart. </p> <p>For example, Memphis, Tenn., with its <strong>340 square miles and 6,800 lane miles of streets</strong>, <a href="" target="_blank">has collaborated with Google and SpringML</a> to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to detecting potholes and vacant properties, with over 90 percent accuracy. </p> <p>By identifying <strong>75 percent</strong> more potholes, it also reduced claim costs for damage due to unaddressed potholes, whic<strong>h saves the city up to $20,000 per year</strong>. </p> <p>In June, the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) <a href="" target="_blank">announced a partnership</a> with <a href="" target="_blank">Panasonic</a> Corporation of North America to develop an advanced transportation data network that they predict will improve safety and mobility on the road by sharing data between vehicles, infrastructure, roadways and traffic operators in real time. </p> <p>Utah already has infrastructure in place for this, says Christopher Armstrong, vice president of CIRRUS/V2X at Panasonic USA. Utah built the first operational connected vehicle corridor in the country. It now has three such corridors, and buses equipped with special radios are already “talking” to traffic signals along these roads. </p> <p>The new project will expand the footprint of this infrastructure and allow the UDOT to accelerate development toward a statewide system for collecting, monitoring and sharing connected and autonomous vehicle data. </p> <p>“The platform is really intended at its <strong>core to be a data management, data access and data availability platform taking advantage</strong> of the high-fidelity data to be coming in from connected cars,” Armstrong says.</p> <p>That data collected will be managed and analyzed by CIRRUS at Panasonic in a lot of different ways, he says, the first being the use of “hot data” to help the DOT make quick decisions in cases like an accident or a bus running behind schedule. </p> <p>After that, what Armstrong calls “warm and cold” data can be “valuable for analytics, identifying trends, informing planning policies, informing safety campaigns and efforts, or improving traffic operations,” he says.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/jen-miller" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/jen-miller"> <div>Jen A. Miller</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=byJenAMiller&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Jen A. Miller writes about technology for She's also a contributor to the <em>New York Times</em>, <em>Washington Post</em> and the <em>Guardian</em>. Her most recent book, <em>Running: A Love Story</em> was published in March.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 16 Sep 2019 15:06:51 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42841 at NG911 Technology: What State and Local Communities Need to Know <span>NG911 Technology: What State and Local Communities Need to Know</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Fri, 09/13/2019 - 09:20</span> <div><p>Everyone knows from movies and TV shows that when you dial 911 on your phone, an operator picks up and usually responds with, “911, what’s your emergency?” But how does that call get routed and what happens after callers have described their emergency situation?</p> <p>A movement underway across the country is seeking to modernize and upgrade the entire 911 experience and the technology infrastructure behind it. The goal is to make it easier for callers to transmit richer and more detailed information about their emergencies, and for staff at <strong>911 call centers, known as public safety answer points, or PSAPs</strong>, to then provide that information to first responders.</p> <p>The effort, known as <strong>Next Generation 911 (NG911),</strong> is an initiative designed to enhance the infrastructure that underpins the 911 system, and <strong>switch from legacy circuit-switched voice to IP-based networks</strong>. One of the goals of NG911 is for callers to be able to transmit pictures and videos to 911 operators via their mobile devices. States have made varying levels of progress on transitioning to NG911 systems, <a href="" target="_blank">according to the National 911 Program</a>.</p> <p>“Legacy networks have always been considered a closed network and the ability for citizens, PSAPs and first responders to share relevant call data has been limited,” says Ed Reuter, executive director of the <a href="" target="_blank">Indiana Statewide 911 Board</a>.</p> <p>The implementation of all NG911 systems — including the Emergency Services IP Network (ESINet), Next Generation Core Services and the use of customer-premises equipment — allows those “stakeholders to <strong>share a large amount of data that could be critical in an emergency response.</strong> Citizens’ use of technology in their daily lives can then be used in an emergency,” Reuter adds. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>What’s next for the FirstNet network?</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">What Is NG911 Technology?</h2> <p>The <a href="" target="_blank">National Emergency Number Association</a> (NENA) develops <a href="" target="_blank">the technology standards</a> that drive NG911.</p> <p>“The idea is to make 911 calls a modern communications platform,” says Brandon Abley, the technical issues director of NENA. “We would handle end-state NG911 environments, <strong>handle location services and multimedia, similar to how other modern communications platforms do</strong>.”</p> <p>April Heinze, NENA’s 911 and PSAP operations director, notes that in legacy environments, 911 call centers get very little information and call center operators’ intake screens can only accommodate 512 characters (including spaces). PSAPs receive limited location information, which makes it difficult to direct first responders to callers, especially if they are calling from smartphones inside buildings.</p> <p>Kevin Morison, COO at the <a href="" target="_blank">Police Executive Research Forum</a>, says NG911 is really about<strong> “bringing the country’s 911 system into the 21st century.”</strong></p> <p>“Think about it. Almost everyone in America today carries around a smartphone — an incredibly powerful communications tool that allows them to connect with the world,” he says. “But when it comes to contacting emergency services in almost every jurisdiction in the country, the only thing people can do with that smartphone is dial three digits and talk with a call taker. NG911 will <strong>open up a whole range of possibilities and opportunities for the public to communicate and share valuable information with public safety</strong>.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is the web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Fri, 13 Sep 2019 13:20:55 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42836 at 4 Ways to Manage the Faster Updates in Windows 10 <span>4 Ways to Manage the Faster Updates in Windows 10</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Thu, 09/12/2019 - 08:41</span> <div><p>To keep citizen and constituent services running smoothly, government agencies that use <a href="" target="_blank">Windows 10</a> will need to ensure that enabled devices are consistently up to date.</p> <p>Windows 10, <a href="" target="_blank">delivered as a service</a>, features monthly quality updates and <strong>biannual feature updates that are not voluntary</strong>. The new delivery model can cause challenges during and after migration if IT staff aren’t prepared. The twice-yearly updates, in spring and fall, are <strong>only supported for 18 and 30 months</strong>, respectively.</p> <p>Here are ways to handle the new cadence.</p> <h2 id="toc_0">1. Choose a Windows Update Servicing Tool</h2> <p><a href="" target="_blank">Windows Update for Business</a> (WUfB) is configured in Group Policy. Users can receive updates as they are publicly released or wait for the twice-yearly cadence, the Semi-Annual Channel (SAC). Feature updates can be delayed for up to a year.</p> <p>For more control, <strong>use Windows Server Update Services (WSUS) or System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)</strong>. WUfB pulls updates from Microsoft’s online update servers or neighboring devices; WSUS uses a local repository.</p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>Find out how a Windows 10 migration boosts agencies' cybersecurity.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">2. Create Deployment Rings to Test Updates</h2> <p>Test updates on a<strong> limited group of computers before rolling them out to all devices</strong>. Some devices might update on the SAC as soon as a monthly update is released, and others might use the SAC to test updates before wider distribution. Use WUfB settings or SCCM to <strong>create deployment rings</strong>. Each Group Policy object can contain unique WUfB settings, which are applied to a given ring. SCCM collections can target devices with specific updates.</p> <h2 id="toc_2">3. Test Critical Apps in Advance</h2> <p>Applications should be <strong>tested before a feature update is installed</strong>. New features and other changes can break applications, so develop a test for each app to ensure critical functionality isn’t affected.</p> <p>Agencies can join <strong>the Windows Insider Program </strong>to get advance access to builds in active development. The <a href="" target="_blank">Security Update Validation Program</a> provides access to updates three weeks before release. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><strong><em>MORE FROM STATETECH:</em> </strong></a><em><a href="" target="_blank">Find out how Microsoft 365 can help government agencies achieve digital transformation.</a></em></p> <h2 id="toc_3">4. Use New Tech to Roll Out Windows 10</h2> <p>Consider modern deployment options, such as mobile device management and <a href="" target="_blank">Windows Autopilot</a>, which makes use of the image installed by the vendor but can be configured with additional software and settings using MDM. Deployments can be cloud- or IT-driven, letting agencies use <strong>Windows Configuration Designer</strong> to create provisioning packages that can be deployed locally. </p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/russell-smith" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/russell-smith"> <div>Russell Smith</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=smithrussell&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Russell Smith is a technology consultant and trainer specializing in management and security of Microsoft server and client technologies. He is a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer with more than 15 years of experience.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:41:52 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42831 at Chicago PD Partners with Samsung to Give Officers More Apps on the Street <span>Chicago PD Partners with Samsung to Give Officers More Apps on the Street</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Wed, 09/11/2019 - 08:48</span> <div><p>There was a time when it would have been fantastical for police officers to have laptops in their cars or smartphones on their belts. Now, however, they can have <strong>smartphones that function as computers</strong>. </p> <p>Last month, the Chicago Police Department <a href="" target="_blank">began a pilot program in partnership</a> with <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung</a> to do just that, and to give officers more resources while they are patrolling the Windy City’s streets. </p> <p>The CPD is testing <a href="" target="_blank">Samsung’s DeX in-vehicle solution</a>, which gives officers the ability to dock their Samsung Galaxy smartphones and <strong>access policing applications on a dash-mounted display and keyboard</strong>. </p> <p>The pilot will showcase the technology’s ability to give officers <strong>greater flexibility and the option to access CPD applications in ways they could not before</strong>. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>See how police departments make use of video wall technology to improve public safety. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Chicago Police Department Aims to Give Officers Access to More Apps</h2> <p>Officers who use the solution will be able to access a computer-aided dispatch application and other CPD systems to conduct background checks and complete reports, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a press release</a>. Additionally, when officers use their smartphones to take photos and videos as evidence, they can <strong>immediately attach those media files to reports</strong>. </p> <p>Nearly half of all Chicago Police Department officers have department-issued Samsung smartphones already, CPD Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in the release. “The idea is to <strong>give officers everything they need to process a scene or respond to an incident in the palm of their hand</strong>,” he said.</p> <p>Jonathan Lewin, chief of CPD’s Bureau of Technical Services, noted in the release that in-vehicle computing for police officers has evolved significantly over the past three decades. </p> <p>“The old computers had to stay in the cars,” he explained. “With this solution, it really creates an ecosystem that takes all the technology and makes it available to officers on the street in real time and at significantly less cost than we are paying now.”</p> <p>In a case study commissioned by Samsung, <a href=";CampaignCode=blog-rd-wp" target="_blank">the Public Safety Network estimates</a> that shifting from rugged in-vehicle laptops to a full one-to-one deployment of Galaxy smartphones and the DeX in-vehicle solution could save agencies <strong>more than 15 percent </strong>the first year of deployment and lead to <strong>more than 32 percent</strong> in annual savings thereafter. </p> <p>At a press conference announcing the initiative, <a href="" target="_blank">The Verge reports</a>, Lewin said that “the system seamlessly takes an officer through the entire lifecycle of an incident” including <strong>getting dispatch assignments while officers are on the street, conducting name checks, vehicle checks and starting incident reports</strong>. </p> <p>The pilot program will launch in the city’s 11th District, <a href="" target="_blank">according to ABC7 Chicago</a>, and by the end of the year, all officers in the district will be using the technology.</p> <p>DeX also offers the ability to view, tilt, pan and zoom on the district’s security cameras, and lets officers view mapping data to see if an incident is part of a trend.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is the web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Wed, 11 Sep 2019 12:48:01 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42826 at Best Practices for Using Container Technology in Government <span>Best Practices for Using Container Technology in Government</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Tue, 09/10/2019 - 10:23</span> <div><p>Far from a passing fad, <strong>containers</strong> are a logical outgrowth of the huge <a href="">success of virtualization</a> and can help to solve a wide range of operational problems, including deployment, scalability and patching.</p> <p>Government IT managers with a broad portfolio of existing applications should explore how to <strong>take advantage of the benefits of container technology</strong>. When moving from one computing environment to another, applications may not always run as programmed. But containers collect code and all related dependencies into one virtual package so that an application runs smoothly wherever it’s deployed, from one cloud to another.</p> <p>Here are some best practices for optimizing container use to achieve quick wins in your environment.</p> <h2 id="toc_0">Pick Applications to Put in Containers Carefully</h2> <p>Containers are <strong>suitable for applications under active maintenance</strong>. They are used to advantage when the application is large, has a lot of moving parts (such as microservices), might need to scale on short notice, or has an active development team using rapid deployment methodologies. Focus on those cases — even though touching a moving target comes with risks — because the payoff for containers will be worth the extra costs and delays associated with mixing in a new technology.</p> <p>The flip side is also true: Applications that don’t fit into this mold aren’t the best use of containers. <strong>Legacy applications should be migrated to dedicated virtual machines</strong>, where the isolation provided by virtualization creates its own container. Those applications will need attention sooner or later, but containers don’t provide much benefit given the resources required to deploy them. </p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" href="" target="_blank"><img alt="IT%20Infrastructure_IR_1%20(2)_0.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="/sites/" /></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">Build Monitoring Infrastructure for Containers</h2> <p>Container-encapsulated applications run on servers, just like any other type of application, so some monitoring tools will continue to provide good information. However, containers are <strong>often just one part of a larger strategy to move applications out of local data centers and into cloud-based service providers</strong>. When that happens, simple performance management tools fall behind very quickly.</p> <p>For example, traditional IT management tools might look at CPU and memory use to determine if a server is overloaded. That doesn’t make sense in the world of container-encapsulated microservices and cloud-based providers. Instead, it’s more important to <strong>measure service response time to uncover resource bottlenecks and pinpoint any potential performance problems</strong>.</p> <p>Even IT managers who aren’t planning an immediate migration to the cloud should consider monitoring tools specifically designed to collect (and interpret) performance metrics and event logs from container-focused environments. Then, when a cloud migration does occur, the “lift and shift” will be simpler and more transparent. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH: </strong>Find out how offsite data storage helps local agencies with disaster recovery.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_2">Manage Containers with a Watchful Eye</h2> <p>Application developers have adopted containers enthusiastically because they simplify the process of building large and complicated applications. Typical multitier (front-end, business logic, back-end) architectures are here to stay, but the internals of each tier are no longer monolithic pieces with complicated dependencies. These modern applications often use <strong>microservices: small processes that launch, perform a single task (or small set of tasks) and then shut down </strong>— all within seconds. Containers are designed explicitly to support this kind of architecture, allowing for quick startup and shutdown of capacity across many servers.</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/joel-snyder" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/joel-snyder"> <div>Joel Snyder</div> </a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Joel Snyder, Ph.D., is a senior IT consultant with 30 years of practice. An internationally recognized expert in the areas of security, messaging and networks, Dr. Snyder is a popular speaker and author and is known for his unbiased and comprehensive tests of security and networking products. His clients include major organizations on six continents.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Tue, 10 Sep 2019 14:23:15 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42816 at NYC Cyber Command Uses Google Cloud to Battle Threats <span>NYC Cyber Command Uses Google Cloud to Battle Threats</span> <span><span lang="" about="/dashboard/philgoldstein6191" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">phil.goldstein_6191</span></span> <span>Mon, 09/09/2019 - 14:10</span> <div><p>Everything is bigger in the Big Apple. New York City’s government <a href="" target="_blank">has more</a> than <strong>330,000 employees and 400,000 endpoints</strong> to protect, totaling roughly 1 million systems. To defend such a large attack surface, the city has partnered with <a href="" target="_blank">Google Cloud</a> to power <a href="" target="_blank">NYC Cyber Command</a>.</p> <p>The command, which was established in June 2017 via an executive order from Mayor Bill de Blasio, is the city’s <strong>centralized cybersecurity defense nerve center</strong>, and it works across more than 100 agencies and offices to “prevent, detect, respond, and recover from cyber threats.”</p> <p>“We built it because we needed to solve a New York City–sized challenge ... with <strong>a new, cutting-edge, cloud-first approach that enabled the latest tools and technology to be applied at scale against our problem</strong>,” Colin Ahern, NYC’s deputy CISO, <a href="" target="_blank">told ZDNet earlier this year.</a> “One that would allow us to evolve and stay head of the threat.”</p> <p>Since the command’s establishment, it has created “an open-source, cloud-based data pipeline to serve as a security log aggregation platform that analysts could use to quickly detect and mitigate threats to city networks and systems,” <a href="" target="_blank"><em>GCN</em> reports</a>. The command analyzes several terabytes of data per day. </p> <p><a href="" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM STATETECH:</strong> Find out the cloud certification state and local government employees need. </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">New York Teams with Google to Analyze Cybersecurity Data</h2> <p>To improve scalability, the command built its data pipeline on top of managed services from Google Cloud, such as <a href="" target="_blank">Cloud Pub/Sub</a>, which serves as an entry point and ingests all manner of data from agencies’ cloud and on-premises sources. Then, the platform allows the command to analyze the data at scale, <a href="" target="_blank">according to a Google case study</a>. </p> <p>The service <strong>puts log event data into the correct format for analysts and other users</strong>, and in some cases, pushes subscriptions and sends event information to stand-alone applications running in Google’s <a href="" target="_blank">Cloud Functions</a> event-driven serverless compute platform.</p> <p>“We have data coming from external vendors, and all this data is ingested through Pub/Sub, and Pub/Sub pushes it through to Dataflow, <strong>which can parse or enrich the data</strong>,” Noam Dorogoyer, a data engineer and IT project specialist at the command, tells <em>GCN</em>. “The way the data comes in can be simple, such as comma-separated. Other times, it’s a mess. There is not a common format among the vendors.” </p> <p>From there, the cyber command uses Dataflow to shift the data into BigQuery, Google’s serverless cloud data warehouse. That allows the command to put the data into tabular form and makes it easier for analysts to process, <em>GCN</em> reports. </p> <p>Critically,<strong> the data is all flowing in real time</strong>. “Real time is king, and that’s the only data valuable to us,” Dorogoyer tells <em>GCN</em>. “If data comes in late, especially when it comes to cybersecurity, it’s no longer valuable, especially during an emergency.”</p> <p><a data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" data-widget="image" href="" id="" rel="" target="_blank" title=""><img alt="Cybersecurity_IR_howstrong_700x220.jpg" data-entity-type="" data-entity-uuid="" src="" /></a></p> <p>The command worked with Google to reduce the network latency at every stage of the process, according to Dorogoyer. </p> <p>“It gives us<strong> a very robust amount of options to deal with this cleaner data, which still has retained context, which is the key thing</strong>,” Anthony Bocekci, Computer Emergency Response Team specialist, tells <em>GCN</em>. “When it comes to incident response, you are oftentimes reacting to ongoing activities, so having the data available live in front of you — again, parsed with the context still there — it allows you to react appropriately. … It allows you to focus on particular facets of the incident that you may not have the ability to do if the logs were provided to you in a slower format.” </p> <p>The command uses Google’s Cloud identity and access management tools, including Cloud Identity-Aware Proxy, to <strong>determine who has access to what cybersecurity data.</strong> The pipeline operates on a zero-trust model, which verifies all users when they try to connect to apps and systems, no matter who they are.</p> <p>“We wouldn’t be much of a cybersecurity firm if we weren’t careful with who had what permissions,” Dorogoyer tells <em>GCN</em>. “We want everybody to be able to do what they have to do for their job, but they don’t really need more than what they need. … There isn’t any account that would just be able to destroy the entire project and wipe it.”</p> </div> <div> <div class="field-author"> <div id="taxonomy-term-" class=""> <div class="author-photo"> <a href="/author/phil-goldstein" hreflang="en"><img src="/sites/" width="58" height="58" alt="Phil Goldstein" typeof="foaf:Image" /> </a> </div> <div class="author-info"> <span>by </span><a rel="author" href="/author/phil-goldstein"> <div>Phil Goldstein</div> </a> <a target="_blank" class="twitter" href=";screen_name=philgoldstein&amp;tw_p=followbutton&amp;variant=2.0"><span>Twitter</span></a> </div> <div class="author-bio"> <p> <div><p>Phil Goldstein is the web editor for <em>FedTech</em> and <em>StateTech</em>. Besides keeping up with the latest in technology trends, he is also an avid lover of the New York Yankees, poetry, photography, traveling and escaping humidity.</p> </div> </p> </div> </div> </div> </div> Mon, 09 Sep 2019 18:10:02 +0000 phil.goldstein_6191 42811 at